#UnderOurHat Photographer Cameron Tharp

Taking photos has been one of my many hobbies for many years now; I’ve gone through significant stylistic progress in that time. My passion was sparked when I bought my first iPhone(5), the camera was light years ahead of my previous phone’s camera and I felt as if a whole new world had opened for me. With my ~modern~ iPhone camera, I started capturing moments from all the places I went: going to Rock N’ Roll concerts with friends, late night car rides alone and every little moment that intrigued me.

Since then, being a photographer has engulfed my mind and has become my primary creative outlet. Nothing intrigues me now like photography does; I love allowing my subjects’ personality shine through the film. Nothing is more beautiful than a person who’s confident and aware of their beauty, inside or out. Truly my inspiration comes from the people I photograph and their very unique personalities, senses of style and similar passion to create art.

I shoot with two different cameras depending on what/who my subject is going to be. My go-to camera for shoots in the city/creative projects that don’t demand incredible detail is my Fujifilm GA645ZI. The Fuji is remarkable in the fact that it is really unclassified in its body style; neither a rangefinder or SLR,  it possesses a 55-90mm F4.5-6.9 autofocus fixed lens, built in flash, portrait oriented viewfinder (instead of the traditional landscape style), auto light metering and other spectacular features you can’t get with other 6×4.5cm format cameras.

The other camera I shoot with is my Mamiya m645 paired with a Mamiya 45mm F2.8 lens. This camera is more traditional than the Fuji I use, but yields much sharper images. I suspect the Fuji’s format dimensions are actually a tad smaller than 6×4.5cm and the lens to be not as sharp.The Mamiya can also do a few different things than the Fuji – also has different limitations: The Mamiya is great for portraits due to its super sharp lens, but is limited to a 1/500s max shutter speed, the Fuji’s max is 1/700s. The Mamiya can shoot multiple exposures, the Fuji can’t. I started shooting medium format with my Mamiya and fell in love with it, it’s a very simple camera to start shooting with – Great for beginners!

I personally find film to be much more rewarding to shoot than digital; digital photography allows the user to make mistakes and shoot multiple frames per second while you just hope to have gotten a great shot. With medium format 120mm film photography, the user often only has 15-16 exposures per roll – extremely limited amount of exposures is ultimately going to make the photographer think harder about their shot.

There’s also a kind of uncertainty with shooting film; until you get those rolls developed, you don’t know what you’ve shot! The wait after shooting and before developing drives me absolutely crazy, but it is so worth it. Film has so much character; different films give you different tones, grain, sharpness, contrast and much more. The mysterious nature of film is definitely what keeps me going.

Despite finding film more rewarding to shoot, I find a happiness shooting on an analog film camera. The art of photography has been washed down and diluted with modern digital cameras; learning how to shoot & develop film properly has allowed my to grow in the artform and also share something so valuable with other artists.

I’m really not too sure where I see myself with photography in 5 years. I know I’ll still have all of my cameras and retain my passion for photography, but I’m not sure if it will conflict with my school/career. I’m certainly hoping I don’t retire as a working photographer within that time, but my presence in the scene will fade. Being an adult is HARD and finding time for fun (and expensive) activities like photography -I’m guessing- will be harder.

Check out Cameron’s profile on The Hub.

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